|Bruins-Capitals Game 3 live blog: Tied in the third||04.16.12 at 7:11 pm ET|
|Tuukka Rask doesn’t swear, but he explains why the Tim Thomas White House snub won’t be an issue||04.16.12 at 2:16 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Everyone in the world wants to forget about the Tim Thomas/White House fiasco, and maybe they finally can after Monday night.
Game 3 will be Thomas’ second game at Verizon Center since the reigning Conn Smythe winner skipped the team’s White House visit in January. Fans in D.C. are being encouraged to wear Barack Obama masks as a way of taunting Thomas.
The Bruins are sick of answering questions about Thomas and the White House. Thomas has promised the media that he will end his sessions with reporters if the White House or his politics are mentioned. Both times it has happened since, Thomas has made good on his word and walked out.
“I think everybody’s angry at him because he’s so good,” Rask said. “You guys know him almost as well as I do. He doesn’t give a’¦ shoot about that stuff. It doesn’t bother him at all.”
|Bruins know they’ve made Braden Holtby’s job easy||04.16.12 at 1:13 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — The Bruins have turned Braden Holtby from an AHL goaltender in over his head to the next big thing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s their fault. Through two games, Holtby has made 73 saves, allowed two goals in over seven periods’ worth of hockey, and created some buzz around the hockey world. All of this without really being tested.
“I think we could do a better job,” Zdeno Chara said matter-of-factly Monday morning.
The Bruins’ top two lines haven’t produced a point through two games, and the Capitals’ stingy play in the neutral zone has made it tough for Boston to get quality chances against the 22-year-old goaltender. The Capitals have blocked 48 shots, forcing the B’s to throw the puck on net any way they can, regardless of whether it’s a quality scoring opportunity.
“They block lots of shots,” said David Krejci, who led last postseason in scoring. “We’ve just got to find a way to get it through, and as forwards, we’ve got to make sure that we’re in front of the goalie. If he doesn’t see it, he can’t stop it.”
Added Chara: “I think one thing is to put shots on the net, but the other thing is to have quality shots, and shots with traffic and [make it] harder for him to maybe see them. It’s one of those things we need to be better at.”
If someone had told you six months ago that the Bruins would be facing this issue against the Capitals in the playoffs, you’d have thought they were crazy. The offensively-loaded Capitals have long relied on high-scoring games to pick up victories, but they’ve changed since Dale Hunter took over as head coach in November.
Now, the Capitals play a similar neutral-zone trap to that of the Bruins. With one forechecker and four men at the blue line, it’s tougher for the B’s to get through the neutral zone with an odd-man rush.
“They’ve definitely surprised us a little bit,” Krejci said. “We all know that they’re a great team offensively, but they’ve shown us in the last two games that they can play good defensively. We were looking at the the last two games and trying to work on some things. Hopefully it’s going to work tonight.”
|Morning skate notes: Same lineup, Tuukka Rask still out||04.16.12 at 12:38 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — The Bruins used the same lines Monday morning at their morning skate Verizon Center, meaning it looks like there will be no changes to the lineup.
Jordan Caron, Tuukka Rask and Mike Mottau all stayed out for extra work after their teammates left the ice. Rask had a much heavier workload than in skates past, and while he said he will be ready to return at some point during this series, coach Claude Julien ruled Rask out for Game 3.
Here is the lineup:
Milan Lucic ‘ David Krejci ‘ Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand ‘ Patrice Bergeron ‘ Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot ‘ Chris Kelly ‘ Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille/Jordan Caron ‘ Gregory Campbell ‘ Shawn Thornton
|Tuukka Rask will make the trip to Washington, but Adam McQuaid won’t||04.15.12 at 6:59 pm ET|
The Bruins’ regulars stayed off the ice Sunday, as the team elected to rest up after playing overtime games Thursday and Saturday before Monday’s Game 3 against the Capitals.
At Sunday’s media availability, coach Claude Julien said that Tuukka Rask, who has missed the first two games of the series with an abdomen/groin injury, will make the trip to the nation’s capital. Adam McQuaid (upper-body) will not.
“He’s not going to make the trip,” Julien said. “He’s going to stay here and continue to get treatment because ight now he’s not ready to go on the ice, so he’s going to continue treatment. When he’s ready to start working out with the team then we’ll bring him with us.”
|Alexander Ovechkin: ‘It’s going to be a long series’||04.14.12 at 7:35 pm ET|
Washington figured to be a tougher matchup for the Bruins than Ottawa, but the series between the B’s and Capitals has been more evenly matched than most probably expected.
Both teams have two goals through two games, both of which were decided in overtime. At the end of regulation Saturday, the teams were separated by one shot on goal. And, thanks to Nicklas Backstrom‘s game-winner early in the second overtime period Saturday, the series is knotted at one game apiece heading to the nation’s capital.
“I would say it’s going to be a long series,” Alexander Ovechkin said after the game. “For us it was very important to win this game and get the series tied, and go back home and have home advantage to play against the Bruins. The power play is going to be involved and again we are pretty happy, but it was a long game and everybody is tired and needs some rest.”
|Capitals take Game 2 in double overtime||04.14.12 at 6:44 pm ET|
The Capitals evened the series at one game apiece as Nicklas Backstrom scored 2:56 into the second overtime period to give Washington a 2-1 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Benoit Pouliot scored his first career playoff goal in the third period to tie the game, and the teams finished regulation knotted at one with nearly identical shots on goal (30-29, Bruins).
With Braden Holtby stepping out to clear a puck heading to the net, Pouliot turned on the jets and got to the puck just in time to chip it over the 22-year-old goaltender to tie the game.
The Capitals had initially taken the lead in the second period when they got their first goal of the series at 17:57 of the second period. Troy Brouwer poked the puck under the gloves of Greg Zanon and Tim Thomas to give Washington the 1-0 lead.
Holtby had 29 saves in regulation for the Capitals, while Thomas stopped 28 of 29 shots in the first three periods. The Bruins outshot the Capitals by an 11-8 count in the first overtime period.
The series will move to Washington for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Thursday, respectively.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Brouwer’s second-period goal ended Tim Thomas‘ postseason shutout streak 161:41. Thomas was coming off two straight shutouts, as he blanked the Canucks in Game 7 last June and the Capitals on Thursday night. The last playoff goal he had allowed prior to Brouwer’s was a Maxim Lapierre tally at 17:34 of the third period in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
– Once again, Braden Holtby was sharp for the Capitals. After keeping the Bruins off the board through regulation in Game 1, Holtby came up with some big stops on Bergeron, amongst others, and kept the game scoreless when the Bruins had a flurry of opportunities in the second period prior to Brouwer’s goal. His work continued into the third period, was he robbed Brad Marchand in front with around 12 minutes to go.
– After being kept quiet in Game 1, Alexander Ovechkin was more involved Saturday. He had far more opportunities and picked up the primary assist on Brouwer’s goal, meaning he has still never gone two straight playoff games without a point. He also got away with a second-period cross-check of Dennis Seidenberg that went unpenalized.
– Patrice Bergeron, was the best statistical faceoff man in the league during the regular season, won only three of eight draws in the first period. He went 3-for-6 on faceoffs in the second period, and his work from the dot was far below his 59.3 mark before turning it around to the point where he was 13-for-22 after the first OT.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– In his first 22 career playoff games, Benoit Pouliot had two points (both assists). All of those games came as a bottom-six forward (21 in Montreal, one in Minnesota), but Pouliot has matched that point total with a goal and an assist in his first two postseason contests as a Bruin. Further proof that being a third-liner for Claude Julien provides more opportunities than being a third-liner elsewhere.
– Pouliot is no strange to taking penalties in the offensive zone, but he drew one in the first period after some fancy stick work around Mike Green. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they would not convert on the power play and finished the day 0-for-2 on the man advantage.
– The Merlot Line had a difficult time sustaining pressure in the offensive zone in Game 1, but the trio was much better on Saturday. Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton combined for eight shots on goal and didn’t find themselves stuck in their own end like they did Thursday.